An upcoming app for iOS and Android devices from Big-O-Tree Games called Dirty Chinese Restaurant sees players running a dirty, Chinese, restaurant. Players take on the caricatured role of Wong Fu, with the objective of turning a small restaurant into a successful business. Players will have to hunt down food by picking up trash out of the alley or chasing down cats and dogs with cleavers. Players can hire illegal immigrants, cut corners to pay the tax man, keep customers fed by adding unhealthy ingredients to the food, and bribe human traffickers posing as health inspectors.
The irreverent themes and name of the game have lured in lots of Social Justice Warriors attacking the app for being racist, propagating racial stereotypes and denigrating Chinese communities. Various politicians have also come out of the woodwork to castigate Big-O-Tree Games across social media, calling on Google and Apple to ban the game even before it’s been released.
Multiple Canadian outlets are reporting on the matter given that Big-O-Tree Games is located in Ontario, Canada. The studio prides itself on being edgy, with their official tagline being “Because being politically correct is so…..boring”.
You can view the original trailer for Dirty Chinese Restaurant below to get an idea of what all the fuss is about.
CBC reported on the game catching the eye of Markham’s mayor, Frank Scarpitti, who tweeted out the following.
I am appalled at the depiction of Chinese in the video game "Dirty Chinese Restaurant" @cityofmarkham stands with our Chinese community
— Frank Scarpitti (@frankscarpitti) September 29, 2017
Big-O-Tree was quick to respond, calling Dirty Chinese Restaurant “satire”, saying in a statement…
“It has come to our attention that our small, independent game, ‘Dirty Chinese Restaurant,’ has upset some people due to its content. Our game is mainly satire and comedy influenced by the classic politically incorrect shows we grew up watching, such as: ‘South Park,’ ‘All in the Family,’ ‘Sanford & Son,’ ‘Family Guy,’ ‘Simpsons,’ and ‘Chappelle’s Show.’ We also listen to Jay-Z.”
The apology didn’t go down well with others, however. Toronto’s Metro News took aim at the game as well, citing New York congresswoman Grace Meng, who compiled a series of tweets calling for the censorship of the game, which read…
“I urge Google, Apple, Android and any other platform to not carry [Big-O-Tree Games’] “Dirty Chinese Restaurant.” This game uses every negative & demeaning stereotype that I have ever come across as a Chinese American. How we portray people matters.
“Racism against Asian Americans is just as harmful as racism against any other group, and we must call it out when we see it”
Some of Meng’s constituents were a little more perturbed at the policies affecting their everyday life as opposed to an upcoming time management game riffing on racial stereotypes.
Preach sister, this congresswomen is so invested in failed identity politics. Instead of sound policy for the district she represents
— Daniel Ryan (@DannyRyan203) September 26, 2017
I’m going to download it just because you take offense to it, thank you for sharing you failed congresswoman
— Daniel Ryan (@DannyRyan203) September 26, 2017
Sites like People’s Daily Online also classed the game as racist, sharing a statement from the Chinese Consulate General in Toronto, Ontario, who also called for the censorship of Dirty Chinese Restaurant, writing…
“We are aware that Canada is a multicultural society, and Ontario, especially Markham, is home to many Chinese and Chinese enterprises, who make great contribution to and win respect by the local communities. Any society with equity and justice, and anyone with a sense of morality and conscience will not tolerate the racism and discrimination,”
Eater also took digs at the game, reiterating talking points by the Huffington Post, writing…
“A game company by the name of Big-O-Tree (say that out loud, by the way) is releasing a blatantly racist and wildly offensive smartphone game called Dirty Chinese Restaurant. […]
“[…] here’s a world of difference between satire, a style of fiction that typically exposes stupidity and prejudices through humor, and simply peddling negative and hurtful stereotypes without any commentary or context, which is what we have here.”
As reported by the Toronto Sun, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, Kathleen Wynne, also took an opportunity to chime in and textually chastise Big-O-Tree for the game, posting the following comment on Twitter.
This type of racism has no place in Ontario. I know this does not reflect the values of the people of Markham. https://t.co/7VjeqyLLcD
— Kathleen Wynne (@Kathleen_Wynne) September 28, 2017
Other Canadian sites like CP24, and even Chinese news outlets like Xinhuanet, have also joined in on spreading the word about the politicians’ request to have the game banned from Google Play and Apple’s iTunes App Store.
What’s interesting here is that the trailer that has so many people worked up is actually old… really old.
Big-O-Tree Games initially launched the trailer at the top of the article back in October of 2016, last year. The second trailer for the game debuted on November 7th, 2016, just a month later.
The media’s recent news cycle about Dirty Chinese Restaurant put the game back into the news spotlight and the outrage consciousness of social media.
Dirty Chinese Restaurant still hasn’t released yet, but given all the calls for the game to be banned by politicians, it’s very possible that it may not be approved to appear on the iTunes App Store or Google Play.
(Thanks for the news tip Migi)